Inland Waterway Accidents

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Port of Claiborne, Alabama

Covering 54 acres, the Port of Claiborne in Alabama is located at the end of a service road extending from Alabama River Cellulose, a large paper mill and one of four mills operated by GP Cellulose, which serves customers in 75 countries. Claiborne is a ghost town, sitting above the Alabama River on a bluff. During the Civil War, it was still a shipping destination, but the industry simmered when a railroad was built through Monroe County by the early 1900s. In the 1820s and 1830s, the population of the town peaked at about 5,000.

The facility is run by the Alabama State Port Authority and is one of 10 such inland docks operated by the organization.

The Importance of Inland Port Safety

Inland ports are vital stopping points where all kinds of cargo and materials are loaded and unloaded, delivered, and shipped. From industrial materials to consumer goods, these require technical handling operations, transport, and placement. A great deal of the hazards at inland ports are due to the handling of cargo containers, cranes, and other lifting equipment and attachments. Workers can easily be injured if something is handled the wrong way or a piece of equipment fails. The injury can range from a minor bruise to a severe sprain or broken bone. Severe head, spinal, and back injuries have been caused by mishaps at ports as well.

Vehicular accidents are common too and can involve automobiles present in a facility, in addition to forklifts, tractor-trailers, and other work vehicles. Equipment problems, lack of traffic control systems, and operator fatigue are issues that have been addressed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Cell phone use and inattention, the same issues that lead to accidents on regular roads and highways, can cause incidents within a port. Changing operations at the facility and weather are factors that should be considered.

Federal agencies and laws may not be the only protections available. Depending on the location and nature of an accident, maritime law might apply, so the provisions of the Jones Act or Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may instill a legal obligation for a negligent party, for example, to be responsible for lost work time, medical costs and physical and emotional hardships sustained as direct results of work-related injuries.

At any port, no matter how big or small, vessel mooring, lifting, and exposure to chemicals and flammable materials increase the risks of serious injuries and fatalities. Simple slips, trips, and falls can occur on any surface that is wet or oily, whether it is a paved surface, deck, structural component, or on a vessel. Falling from heights is another major risk. One can sustain more serious injuries by hitting the ground from above, or falling into the water and drowning or suffering from hypothermia.

If an injury has you sidelined from work at the Port of Claiborne, contact us via the form on our website, and we’ll provide assistance in helping you obtain information and possibly compensation for your hardship.

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